If you're feeling kind of stuck--wanting more, but unable to get past where you are--maybe your bad habits are a big part of the problem.

Look at what you are doing, and assess your thoughts and your habits. Ask yourself if they are working for you or against you.

Habits are patterns that are actions that we repeatedly do to create action. If your actions aren't getting you what you want, you have to try something different.

Face it: You can't change your life without changing the things you think and do.

Here are nine bad habits you have to free yourself from--starting now--if you want to be successful in your job, your business, and your life.

1. Mediocrity. How many times have you settled for less for yourself? If you accept mediocrity, you will never have excellence, so do what you can to banish it from your life and your thinking. Stop allowing your fears and anxiety to condemn you to be less than you can be.

2. Negativity. A huge part of the appeal of negativity is how easy it is. It's no more complicated than looking around and pointing out all the flaws you see. And criticism has its place, but when you focus on the negative, you're shutting out the positive forces that will keep you moving forward. Negativism focused inwardly is especially destructive, so banish it for good.

3. Lack of focus. Fuzzy thinking and indecisiveness will always leave you right where you are. Until you can see what you want as well as what's surrounding you, it's hard to gain momentum. Visualize where you're headed with as much clarity as you can bring to bear on it. Drill down to the details, set goals, and stay on task.  

4. Unhealthy relationships. It may feel like a hard truth, but not everyone and everything is meant to stay in your life. Relationships that have become unhealthy--those that don't serve you anymore--have to be repaired, and if repair isn't possible, then you have to move on. Unhealthy relationships can cause stress, health issues, and a broken spirit. If you're scared to leave, that's probably the strongest sign that you need to.

5. Passivity. Maybe in the past doing nothing has served you well. Up to a point, it's not a bad thing to leave your options open. But if you continually choose to do nothing, nothing will happen. Success and happiness come from the choices you make. Choose to turn on your desire and drop the doubt. Choose to do work that makes you proud. Choose relationships that bring out your best self and a way of life that gives you the time to enjoy the people and activities you love.

6. Shame. We can experience shame in any area of life, but we don't have to let it keep us company or define us in the future. Shame should be something we learn to walk through and come out on the other side of, remembering that mistakes and failure are often among our greatest teachers.

7. Making excuses. Is making excuses actually getting you what you want? If the answer is no, you need to stop. Think about the kinds of excuses you make. Are they focused on a present that you need to change, or a past you need to let go of? Starting today, give it everything you've got, and if it turns out badly, you can try something different. But no more excuses.

8. Not setting priorities. Every day, something will get done first, when your energy is strongest. Something will get done with the time you have left over, and something may not get done at all. You can let these things happen randomly or strategically. But it's a fact that when you don't give attention to the important things, the important things don't get done. Great things will happen when you start setting your priorities straight.

9. Running from problems. If you've tried this approach even once or twice, you know it doesn't work but just makes things worse. Face the issue, confront the problem, fix it. Do what you have to do to make it right. It's easy to run, but facing problems and working through them is what makes you strong.

The habits that are holding you back may be among these, or may be something entirely different. But the sooner you identify them and cut them out of your life, the sooner you will begin to fly.






Published on: Apr 13, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.